Pregis' new blown film line adds to flexible packaging products

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Pregis LLC Pregis LLC has installed a new Hosokawa Alpine five-layer coextrusion line makes polyethylene film for flexible packaging, including bags.

Pregis LLC is unveiling millions of dollars in improvements at its Sussex, Wis., flexible packaging plant.

The Deerfield, Ill.-based company said the $10 million investment includes a blown film line and enhanced printing capabilities.

A new Hosokawa Alpine five-layer coextrusion line makes polyethylene film for flexible packaging, including bags.

Pregis acquired Sharp Packaging Systems of Sussex in May 2017, a move that expanded the company into flexible packaging bagging systems and materials.

With delivery companies such as FedEx and UPS moving to dimensional pricing for parcels, flexible packaging has been gaining momentum because it takes up less space than rigid packaging such corrugated boxes.

Flexible packaging is especially suited for products, such as clothing, that do not require cushioning protection.

The investment in Sussex further integrates that location.

Film is extruded, printed and converted into flexible bags. Rolls of those bags are then installed on Sharp bagging systems used by companies to ship products.

Thermal printing allows customer addresses to be printed on bags, eliminating the need for extra labeling.

"With an increased demand for Sharp bagging systems — particularly for e-commerce applications — this investment puts us in an ideal position to supply marketplace needs. Our new five-layer blown film line gives us the ability to push the envelope on engineered film solutions," Sharp Packaging President Mike Menz said in a statement.

Along with the electronic commerce market, Sharp's bags are used for medial and pharmaceutical, retail display, injection molding, linen services and parts applications, the company said.

The Sussex location is one of three Sharp locations acquired by Pregis last year. Other manufacturing sites are in Tempe, Ariz., and East Troy, Wis.

The company built a new 160,000-square-foot facility in Sussex shortly before being purchased by Pregis.

Pregis CEO Kevin Baudhuin called the Sussex deal a "needle mover" at the time, as the transaction allowed his company to move into the bag-based shipping business. This complements a litany of products and systems Pregis has to protect products during shipment such as air pillows, paper-based cushioning and foam protection.

The latest investment in Sussex includes a pair of eight-color flexographic printing presses that will offer customers a wider color range with improved graphics, Pregis said.

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